Home singapore Pearl's Hill BTO flats likely to come under Prime category; price of 4-room unit possibly around S$700,000: Analysts

Pearl's Hill BTO flats likely to come under Prime category; price of 4-room unit possibly around S$700,000: Analysts

Pearl's Hill BTO flats likely to come under Prime category; price of 4-room unit possibly around S$700,000: Analysts
Public housing at Pearl’s Hill near Chinatown and Bukit Timah in the future is likely to be categorised as Prime flats, said property analystsThey expect four-room units to be priced at about S$700,000These projections are made based on prices of prime flats today along with the good locations of the two sitesInjecting public flats in largely private housing enclaves may have a mixed impact on prices of existing properties, said the experts

By Taufiq Zalizan Published November 4, 2023 Updated November 4, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — Public housing to be built at Pearl’s Hill near Chinatown — and potentially at Bukit Timah Turf City as well — is likely to be categorised as Prime flats, said property analysts, with four-room units possibly coming with a price tag of around S$700,000.

The experts based their estimates on current prices of similar properties today, the two sites’ good attributes such as their central locations as well as connectivity via public transport, among other factors.

Property analysts were speaking to TODAY on Friday (Nov 3) after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) unveiled plans for new housing developments in the central regions of Singapore.

New public housing comprising Build-to-Order (BTO) and rental flats will be built for the first time in more than four decades, along with private homes, at Pearl’s Hill near Chinatown, to cater to diverse needs and preferences, said the statutory board.

Plans are also underway to build homes at Bukit Timah Turf City, Mount Pleasant and the former Keppel golf course site.

URA said on Friday that it is currently studying the “possibility of providing a diverse range of housing options, including both private and public housing” at the former race course site at Turf City.

Experts who spoke to TODAY also said that the upcoming developments may have a mixed impact on the prices of existing properties in the area.


Given the central location, some analysts said that upcoming flats at Pearl’s Hill and potentially Turf City are likely to fall under the Prime category, the priciest of three categories for public housing under a new scheme that will take effect from the second half of next year.

Mr Luqman A Hadi, chief data and analytics officer at real estate platform 99.co, said that four-room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats at these two locations could possibly go for S$700,000 to S$800,000 at launch, with subsidies.

“The estimations are based on what we currently see in similar BTO flats, for example in Tanglin Halt Cascadia with its four-room BTO prices launched at S$530,000 to S$700,000 with subsidies,” he said.

Huttons Asia’s senior director for research Lee Sze Teck gave a similar price range for a four-room flat at Pearl’s Hill “if they are launched today”, adding that prices might go even higher in the future.

Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA, noted that four-room BTO flats under the Prime Location Housing model were recently launched at between S$400,000 and $500,000, while five-room ones were going for between S$550,000 and S$650,000. 

For the future units at Pearl’s Hill or Turf City, he said: “As there is no fixed definite timeline on when they will be released, prices would depend on market conditions then.”

Meanwhile, Mr Nicholas Mak, chief research officer at property platform mogul.sg, said that while the locations are prime, the Government does not set a public flat price “based on the land price”.

“They price it based on affordability, meaning they would take into consideration the median household income of potential buyers, then they see the mortgage servicing ratio… then they work backwards,” he said.

The mortgage servicing ratio refers to the portion of a borrower’s gross monthly income that goes towards repaying all property loans, including the loan being applied for. It is capped at 30 per cent of a borrower’s gross monthly income.

As for private property, Dr Lee Nai Jia of PropertyGuru Group anticipates new condominiums at Pearl’s Hill to have a starting price of about S$2,700 per square foot, assuming that market conditions are stable.

“However, it is likely that prices for select premium units may exceed S$3,000 per square foot, taking cue from recent property launches,” said the head of real estate intelligence, data and software solutions at PropertyGuru Group. He reckons that units at Turf City will be within a similar price bracket.


Experts said houses at both Pearl’s Hill and Turf City can expect good demand if they are priced right due to the prime locations. However, each site boasts different features that may attract different buyer profiles.

Pearl’s Hill is close to the city centre and is served by four MRT lines.

“For most people, this brings a high level of convenience not seen in any previous HDB projects,” said Mr Luqman.

Agreeing, Mr Mohan Sandrasegaran, head of research and data analytics at Singapore Realtors Inc, added: “This factor makes it highly attractive to urban professionals, young families, and individuals seeking convenience in their daily commute.”

Dr Lee said Pearl’s Hill proximity to the city and its potential for rental opportunities may also draw investor buyers.

But while Bukit Timah has a reputation for being a more affluent area in Singapore, this does not necessarily make it appealing to everyone.

“Some Singaporeans prefer not to live there as the offerings, such as food options and activities, are more suited for the expat or international communities and cost of living also caters to those with higher income,” said Mr Lim.

He pointed out that the entire Bukit Timah Turf Club City will be redeveloped and the exact amenities to be provided in the location remain to be seen.

The main attraction of the Bukit Timah area though, said analysts, is the presence of popular educational institutions, including primary schools. Proximity to a primary school gives a child added priority to enrol there compared to another child living further away.

“The presence of top schools in the vicinity, coupled with the upcoming Turf Club MRT Station in 2032, makes it an enticing option for families, particularly parents looking for access to quality education for their children,” said Mr Mohan.


Broadly speaking, the experts said that upcoming housing development can have a positive impact on prices of existing properties around them.

“With new developments there is an expectation that the Government will build more new facilities and improve upon the existing transport infrastructure available in the area,” said Mr Luqman.

He added that this is especially the case for the new project at Bukit Timah Turf City.

On public housing at Pearl’s Hill, Mr Lim noted that HDB flats in the area were last built there more than 40 years ago.

“Hence, new HDB flats in the area would not affect prices too much as the buyers for BTO flats and resale there are different,” he said.

Meanwhile, there are no HDB flats near Turf City currently.

Mr Mak said the impact of introducing public housing into the Bukit Timah area is unclear, as the idea is still currently being studied by the Government.

“If let’s say you’re going to build so many, for example 70:30 or 60:40 (public to private homes), then that area is going to turn into a big HDB estate,” he said.

“The dynamics of Bukit Timah will change, it may no longer be so exclusive and private.”

While he would not go so far as to say it would negatively affect prices, the build up of HDB flats might dim the attractiveness of adjacent private units to potential buyers who want to move to Bukit Timah specifically for its exclusivity factor, he said.

More broadly, implementing the changes slowly over a prolonged period may mitigate the possible impact on private housing prices, he added.

In all, the analysts welcome the idea of introducing a mix of housing types in such good locations.

“Ordinary Singaporeans should not be excluded from living in new neighbourhoods in the central region,” said Mr Mak.

“Having both private and public housing in these prime locations indicates that the Government is committed to ensure inclusivity,” said Mr Lim.

“This would prevent enclaves based on socio-economic status.”